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Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Karelian


Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Russian Federation

Language Profile




Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation


Karelian language (Karjalan kieli) is closely related to Finnish, it belongs to the Finno-Ugric languages, and is distinguished from Finnish by some important extensions to the phonology and the lack of influence from modern 19th and 20th century Finnish.
Karelian is spoken mainly in Republic of Karelia, Russia. Dialects spoken in Finnish Karelia (North Karelia and South Karelia) are not considered Karelian but Savonian dialects or Southeastern dialects of Finnish.

There is no standard Karelian language, although the Republic of Karelia's authorities have recently begun to attempt standardization. Each writer writes in Karelian according to his own dialectal form.

There are 3 main dialects in karelian language

  • Karelian – very similar to finish language
  • Livikkovsky – combine main features of karelian dialect and some features of the language of vepsy
  • Lyudnikovsky – has strongly pronounced features of Vepsky language 

Native speakers of different dialects are able to understand each other, but at the same time they use different basis for the same word and also form the sequence of the words in the sentence.